To February and March?!
I mean, there I was, rolling along, cooking up good stuff, enjoying this whole blogging thing, then BLAM! Nothing! What’s up with that?
Actually, I do know what is up with it. Sigh.
My father died two years ago on March 8th. My mother died 7 years ago on March 30. I will be turning 40 in month. You do the math.
My usual method for dealing with emotional discomfort is to sequester myself for a period of time and let myself have a good wallow for a weekend or a whatever. Well, I spent the rest of February and half of March putting on a brave face to the world and wallowing away in private.*
Oh, it was a hideous thing – there was a lot of self-pity. Then came the anger about how unfair it all is. Next was judgement for the people who had things that I don’t have and CLEARLY don’t deserve them. And let’s not forget the blame for my parents for making me dysfunctional and then dying before helping me figure it all out!
Then, round about the middle of March, I started to dislike myself greatly – which is generally the point I give myself a pep talk about big girl pants, tomorrow being another day and so forth. After a couple of weeks of fits and starts, I find myself back to feeling generally OK about life and, in some instances*** pretty damn good.
Which is all to say, I’M BACK! And here’s one of the delightful things I came up with during my sabbatical. I started with my Saturday Spinster Scalloped Potatoes and ended up with:
Let the Dead Rest Rutagouda (serves 8)
2-3 medium rutabagas, peeled and sliced in rounds
4 small onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz beer
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup butter
2 cups milk
8 oz aged Gouda cheese, shredded
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
salt & pepper to taste
Prepare onions: Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium high heat. Add onions and garlic with a bit of olive oil. Cook until onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the beer and continue cooking onions until liquid has evaporated and onions are soft and caramelized. Remove heat and set aside.
Prepare sauce: Melt butter in pot over medium heat, add flour and, whisking constantly, cook to a light, toasty brown. Add milk slowly, whisking constantly and cook until sauce thickens, ~5 minutes. Add the shredded cheese and the spices. Stir until cheese is melted, then season with salt and pepper. Note: it should be a little salty – the rutabagas will mellow it out
Put it all together: Pre-heat oven to 350. Butter an 8″ x 11″ pan and layer rutabagas, half the onions and a third of the sauce. Repeat, then top with a final layer of rutabagas and the remaining sauce. Sprinkle the whole thing with some more smoked paprika and bake for 45 minutes or until rutabagas are tender when pierced with a fork.
* I have friends though who find my habits mildly annoying to disconcerting. “You can TALK TO ME, ya know?!! When you’re upset?!” is what they say.****
** Drinking too much wine on a semi-regular basis certainly didn’t help.*****
*** Did I mention I opened an Etsy store? More on that some other time, but suffice to say things are actually going pretty well, but I believe I want to keep this place separate from all that.
**** Those of you who fall into this category, let me say the following: THANK YOU! I love you for it! And it’s not you, it’s me.
***** Those of you who were with me when I drank all that wine and ended up a teary, maudlin mess, let me say the following: THANK YOU! I love you for it! I’ll try not to do that again any time soon.